back to article BT: Let us scrap ordinary phone lines. You've all got great internet, right?

BT is asking Ofcom to be freed from its obligation to provide ordinary PSTN/POTS voice telephone connections across the UK. The telecoms giant would prefer to provide only internet services, and let customers use them for voice calls. The Telegraph reported that BT wants to move "all domestic and business customers to internet …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    provide only internet services

    but keep raking fees for phone line connection, eh? Fuck off and die.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: provide only internet services

      Of course the copper line should be provided and maintained for free just like your mobile signal is......

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: provide only internet services

        Of course the copper line should be provided and maintained for free just like your mobile signal is......

        Yeah, I'm totally sure it costs BT £192 a year to 'maintain' that bit of copper between you and the exchange, that is either buried in a hole somewhere, or strung along the tops of some long-dead trees (that last 30-40 years before needing replacement) for a mile or two.

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: provide only internet services

          "

          Yeah, I'm totally sure it costs BT £192 a year to 'maintain' that bit of copper between you and the exchange,

          "

          As well you should be "totally sure". That amounts to less than the salary of 1 linesman per 100 users before you factor in vehicle costs, admin and replacement equipment. If you believe that poles and underground cable need hardly any maintenance, you should educate yourself. But it's not only the "last mile" that you are paying a share of, but the maintenance and upgrading of exchange equipment and the entire telecommunications infrastructure. Your perfectly maintained copper line would be pretty useless without a working exchange at the other end of it, and not a lot better if you could only connect within your local exchange area.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: provide only internet services

            " That amounts to less than the salary of 1 linesman per 100 users"

            In a well-run setup you should be able to run 1 per 2500 or so. Openreach is not well-run and the infrastructure is falling apart due to lack of investment.

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: provide only internet services

            As well you should be "totally sure". That amounts to less than the salary of 1 linesman per 100 users before you factor in vehicle costs, admin and replacement equipment.

            1 linesman per 100 users? Lets assume that it takes said linesman a day to fix a fault on a line (an overestimate I'd hope), that would still imply that there would be enough faults to keep him (or her) busy all year. Assuming a working year of 52 weeks, with 30 days annual holiday (lets be generous), and you get 230 working days a year to fix faults for 100 users. That would imply that BT is expecting, on average, something to go wrong with every phone line 2.3 times per year (230 days x 1 fault per day / 100 users per fault), or every 160 days or so. If any telecoms supplier gave me a service that shitty, I'd be off faster than you can say, "Service Level Agreement". It all makes me think of this.

          3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: provide only internet services

            @Cynic_999 - and if you think BT are struggling to find the cash for their ongoing maintenance and upgrades; their company accounts show they made a profit of over £2bn last year...

            http://www.redmayne.co.uk/research/securitydetails/financials.htm?tkr=BT.A

            1. Kijoma

              Re: provide only internet services

              They made 2Bn profit last year and received nearly 2Bn in state aid to roll out "fibre" .

              This of course doesn't mean they wouldn't of made a profit without it though as most of that went to buy the sports rights at way over the market value :)

              allegedly..

              Bill

        2. Steven Jones

          Re: provide only internet services

          The wholesale charge for a copper line is £87.48 per year (for the fully unbundled MPF product). The WLR product (which is the one used by BT) provides voice too, but is only fractionally more. Anything above that level is due to a mixture of mark-up by the service provider and VAT. It's a lot less than that £192 figure you headline. The choice of which service provider to use is (for the vast majority) completely open.

          Note that this includes a (regulated) level of return on what Ofcom deem the network to be worth as a level dictated by the regulator in addition to direct costs (workforce, maintenance, rates, power and the multitude of other items).

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: provide only internet services

            The wholesale charge for a copper line is £87.48 per year

            Do you pay the wholesale price to BT for your phone line? No, didn't think so. The figure comes from their advertised rate of £15.99 per calendar month, £15.99 x 12 = £191.88. The twelve pence you can keep as a tip.

            Of course, the figure of £87.48 may be closer to the real cost of maintaining the copper, but will still include a profit for BT, so the question has to be, what service are BT's customers getting for that other £104.40? My suspicion is: very little. The administration costs, and billing costs might come out of this, but I suspect that they account for maybe the £4.40 part of it, of which most of the cost is probably the postage. Given the amount of money they waste on shiny marketing guff that falls through my letterbox, I suspect they could well absorb that cost into their marketing budget and not notice it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: provide only internet services

        to be precise, my "fuck you BT" (moving to Virgin), was related to BT:

        a) charging a fee for "payment processing"

        b) charging a fee for "low line usage"

        d) charging a pay-minute "access fee" to some phone numbers, as of 1st July, ostensibly to "make the charges clearer", in effect pricing out those alternative cheap 08... calling services. Ah, yeah, it wasn't BT who introduced this charge, it was ofcom (I'm sure it had NOTHING to do with BT loobying , BT "only" put an arbitrary 8p per minute charge - because they could).

        So, once again, FUCK YOU BT for your grand suggestion to do away with a phone line I subscribe to that, pronto.

        The only thing that might be alarming is that Virgin works well - in general. But when it doesn't ... oh dear, their "customer service" is apparently on par with the worst.

      3. captain veg

        Re: provide only internet services

        > Of course the copper line should be provided and maintained for free just like your mobile signal is......

        Well, that's what happens here in France. If you go for a Local Loop Unbundled package you have the option of ditching the France Telecom POTS altogether and then pay zilch in standing charge. Interestingly, this is true even if the "unbundling" is done by France Telecom itself.

        -A.

    2. Richard Jones 1
      WTF?

      Re: provide only internet services

      Well this dumb ass plan should cut the load on the ambulance, fire and police emergency lines. You will not be able to call them in the event of any power troubles, what a really clever idea.

      Not!

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: provide only internet services

        The optical network terminal in my basement has a battery backup. My phone service, which is a telco VOIP via fiber optics, works during power outages up to many hours.

        If that doesn't work, I could use one of the several mobile phones around the house.

        Failing that, I might try VHF, or possibly even HF. Morse code if need be.

        Worst case, I can build a spark gap transmitter given a few hours.

      2. chris 48

        Re: provide only internet services

        I wonder how many people would be stuck in a power cut anyway because they only have a cordless phone?

        Probably none really. They would call on a mobile like a normal person.

    3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      I still have 'POTS'...

      But it enters the house on fiber optics. The Optical Network Terminal (ONT) in the basement has an 8P8C ("RJ45") socket for Internet, and a couple of "RJ11" sockets to provide up to two phone lines. The ONT is powered via a box with a battery, so that the phone service will continue to work during power outages. The service is top notch and features work perfectly.

      Point being, the telco can change the architecture of their phone service (even coiling up their copper infrastructure) and still offer a very nice POTS service that's actually a VOIP box in the basement.

      One needn't abandon the one to shift the the other.

  2. Peter Simpson 1
    Thumb Up

    One big problem

    Internet doesn't work for long if mains power goes out. POTS is powered by batteries at the central office. Designed that way so that the parts likely to fail are all in one place, and easy to fix.

    I understand the economics and the reasons for this, but I have a soft spot for the old copper system, which, if it were allowed to, would outlive me, because it's so damn well designed and built. I have much respect for The Telephone Company, their engineers and craftspeople, may they all rest in peace.

    In My World, you'd have a single fiber connection for fun, and a POTS connection for when you really need it, like when you need an ambulance and the power's out (and the little dinky made-in-China backup battery in your fiber interface has long since departed)

    // don't forget who Tommy Flowers worked for...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One big problem

      Time moves on.

      I would suspect these days most households have at least 3 mobile phones capable of making emergency calls. Actually, it would be interesting to see a breakdown of how many 999 calls are received from landlines versus mobiles, and how that trend is changing over time.

      Similarly, power outages were common in the 1970's, but are extraordinarily rare today. Arguably, an emergency like a house fire could also have a significant correlation with the electricity supply failing; but it could also burn through a copper phone line..

      So in general, if the USO were replaced with a universal obligation to provide an Internet connection of 10Mbps or higher, with an optional VOIP phone, I think most people would be very happy with that.

      Also, it might lead to an end of the ludicrous "Internet for FREE (* line rental £17.99 per month)" pricing. Mind you, it doesn't make any difference with Virgin today: the price of Internet without phone is almost identical to the price of a phone line plus Internet (*)

      (*)

      50Mbps Broadband £17.50 a month (£5 for first 12 months)

      + Virgin Phone line for £16.99

      18 month contract

      Total cost over 2 years: £677.76

      50Mbps Broadband on its own: £28.50 per month

      12 month contract

      Total cost over 2 years: £684.00

      1. Richard 45

        Re: One big problem

        "Similarly, power outages were common in the 1970's, but are extraordinarily rare today."

        Really? I live in a UK town. We get a power cut at least once a year.

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Re: One big problem

          Ha! My last work place managed 3 in 7 months. The worst being 9 hours outage.

          The virgin fibre stayed up throughout though. Amazing what paying more in a month than I earned in a year did for support.

        2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: One big problem

          A big bit of Hayes, Middlesex ** had a 6+hr power outage on Tuesday. JCB dug through a 11Kva cable.

          The phones still worked. Strange that!

          ** Part of the old EMI complex. Vinyl forever!

        3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: One big problem

          @Richard 45 - I think they were more common in the 1970's, at times, once a week. But that was more for political reasons.

        4. Legend4Games

          Re: One big problem

          I live in Worcester UK, right next to a large hospital and experience regular power cuts. I run 3 UPS to protect my modem, router and phones, PC and NAS at home due to the amount of power outages we have. Some are just brownouts, but most (i'd say 5-6 a year but I've not checked the logs lately) are full power cuts that can last from seconds to 4-5 mins (the norm) or longer. Oh, and as for the lines being kept in tip-top condition.... I get constant cross over on voice, faint lines most of the time, and I got crap 'broadband' of <2meg, even my FTTC is <20meg, the phone lines are CRAP (old copper doped aluminum ones) and the last engineer out had to fish a large connector out of a flooded conduit to fix an issue - and got himself a nice electric shock whilst doing it !..... so if they could invest in the crap 'last mile' or whatever you call it infrastructure I am currently stuck with.... i'd be more than happy.

          1. Nigel 11

            Re: One big problem

            the phone lines are CRAP

            That ought to be an acronym.

            Copper wRapped Aluminium Padding?

        5. Jediben

          Re: One big problem

          Once a year? Is that not rare enough? I mean, if you eat roast beef eleven times in your life, one would hardly say that person constantly eats roast beef. No, it would be a rare, nay, freak occurrence.

      2. Alister Silver badge

        Re: One big problem

        I would suspect these days most households have at least 3 mobile phones capable of making emergency calls.

        But can they do that in an area without a signal, or if the cell towers are down?

        Similarly, power outages were common in the 1970's, but are extraordinarily rare today.

        Power outages in the UK are still quite common in more rural areas, (where there is less likely to be a mobile signal) and are likely to get more common and widespread if the government policies on power generation continue.

        1. Ted Treen

          @Alister

          "...government policies on power generation..."

          Wasn't aware they had any.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One big problem

        "I would suspect these days most households have at least 3 mobile phones capable of making emergency calls."

        Haven't there been problems with emergency calls from mobiles being routed to the wrong geographic area services?

      4. Richard Jones 1
        Unhappy

        Re: One big problem

        Emergency calls from mobiles can be a really major problem because the callers location can be very hard to trace. Calls from a land line tend not to move about the countryside.

        1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: One big problem

          "...callers location can be very hard to trace."

          The subject here is having a mobile as a backup for emergency calls *FROM HOME* when the VOIP isn't working.

          Operator: "What is your location?"

          Caller: "I'm at home. ..."

      5. Peter Simpson 1
        Thumb Down

        Re: One big problem

        Three questions:

        1. How long will your mobile work without being recharged. Mine lasts 2 days. And, as it's an iPhone, I can't "do" a spare battery.

        2. How long do you think a mobile tower can operate without mains power? Depends on the size of the tank for the generator, but 24-48 hrs is what I have heard. Then someone had to drive up there and refuel it.

        3. Cell site overload. The numbers have improved with digital, but still an issue, especially since all those with nothing to do will immediately get on the mobile to their friends, to discuss the fact that neither of them have anything to do. Tough luck if you have an emergency.

        Yeah, it's better than nothing, but cellular can't hold a candle to POTS in robustness or reliability.

        // have an old Western Electric phone...ever since the power went off and my cordless didn't work...duh?!.

        1. Jediben

          Re: One big problem

          Galaxy S5 super power saving mode can do 7 days on full charge.

      6. Old Man - Grey Fleece

        Re: One big problem

        Mobiles - yes in 20 years time everyone will have one and know how to use them.

        There is still a generation that prefer the land line and may have bought a mobile for emergencies but then fail to use it once a month and so when they need it most their mobile phone is no longer registered.

        Oh and guess what, it's the elderly who are most likely to need emergency medical help.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One big problem

        "I would suspect these days most households have at least 3 mobile phones capable of making emergency calls."

        I live in a suburban area, and my mobile reception is "variable" - as in, one day I get reception in my lounge, the next day I don't. This is not withstanding incidents which render a mast inoperable, remomving service for a large area for substantial periods of time, such as this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/17/falcon (yes, I was affected by this)

        "Similarly, power outages were common in the 1970's, but are extraordinarily rare today"

        I seem to experience one a year, with a few transient ones thrown in for good measure.

        "So in general, if the USO were replaced with a universal obligation to provide an Internet connection of 10Mbps or higher, with an optional VOIP phone"

        I'm pretty sure my connection would struggle with a VOIP session - according to my router, it's connected at a reasonable 21Mb/s (downstream), but only ~0.3Mb/s upstream.

      8. Jediben

        Re: One big problem

        You're getting mugged mate. VM sell 152Mbit for £32/m.

      9. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: One big problem

        "I would suspect these days most households have at least 3 mobile phones capable of making emergency calls."

        Only problem is that in an emergency the typical user will forget they purchased a Fermocell to gain mobile at home usage and hence not understand why suddenly there is no reception...

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: One big problem

      "POTS is powered by batteries at the central office."

      How many people have landline phones that can run without the mains? Mine can't anyway.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: One big problem

        Mine can - and I've always had *one* plugged in that can, even when I basically only used DECT phones.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One big problem

        Spend £3 and buy one that can. Sorted.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: One big problem

          >Spend £3 and buy one that can.

          Remember in the UK you can still use pulse dial phones for POTS services, although if you want to be able to use Internet at the sametime, you do need a pulse-to-tone convertor...

          So no need to visit Currys/PC World/Carphonewarehouse..

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One big problem

        "How many people have landline phones that can run without the mains?"

        In the UK it is always advised that the phone plugged directly into the master socket is a very simple one. To prove to BT that a problem lies between you and the exchange you disconnect everything else.

        If there is a power cut you still get ringing for incoming calls. You can make outgoing calls from any of those phones in the house even if the ring repeater is out of action.

        One "help" line operator once made me try every phone in the house in the master socket before she would tick the box that allowed her to pass it to an engineer. The fault was interesting - if you dialled "1471" you heard two recorded messages giving different numbers. Finally tracked to some leakage between two lines in the exchange.

        1. TrishaD

          Re: One big problem

          Here on Salisbury Plain we experience transient power failure at least weekly. We can pretty much guarantee one biggie (6 hrs plus) a year - more in harsh winters.

          There is precisely one mobile in our household and I get zero reception in the house and maybe one bar if I'm lucky when I'm outside. Even then, reception fluctuates between none and bad within a period of minutes.

  3. Aggrajag

    Great! Even more load on my overstretched 1MB at best Internet connection.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Great! Even more load on my overstretched

      Yup, my mum and her neighbour has the choice of calls or internet, as she is over 4Km from an exchange she's still on dial up. They have no plans to run a new connection to her house

      wonder what the cost of putting this fibre to her will be?

      1. tin 2

        Re: Great! Even more load on my overstretched

        $0, cos they won't and without the USO she also won't have a phone line either. That's the reason they should not be allowed to duck the USO ever.

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          Re: Great! Even more load on my overstretched

          If they were to get rid of the USO to require a POTS line, they would have to replace it with one to require an internet connection capable of supporting voice. It would need to be a matter of "you must provide a voice connection to any property".

          As for all the other arguments here, I don't see the issue. Getting rid of the POTS requirement would increase the available bandwidth for xDSL. They could make it a requirement that all DSL routers supplied have a VoIP connection and a battery backup capable of lasting 24h. All lines must include a VoIP connection tied to the property.

          That's the only way I can see that they should be allowed to drop the POTS requirement from their USO.

    2. keithpeter
      Windows

      @Aggrajag and all

      512 kbit/s in my case on adsl. No prospect of upgrade this decade (a court battle was fought on that issue). One mile from Birmingham city centre.

      I am actually thinking of ditching the landline and relying on mobile/cafes

  4. b166er

    Almost all broadband connections in the UK could support VoIP calls provided there was end-to-end QoS and presumably there would be more bandwidth available for IP if the copper didn't have to support traditional voice calls anyway.

    If BT/Openreach can remove the need for twice the amount of equipment as is really necessary, surely that would make maintaining the network easier to and therefore more reliable?

    1. Smooth Newt
      Meh

      >If BT/Openreach can remove the need for twice the amount of equipment as is really necessary, surely that would make maintaining the network easier to and therefore more reliable?

      It depends on which parts of the system are the most unreliable. It isn't usually the electronics that cause the trouble, it's the JCB through the fibre optic cable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "it's the JCB through the fibre optic cable."

        Backhoe incident in US parlance. Very popular with the self employed guys who keep the network running.

    2. Chloe Cresswell

      I guess that's ofcom's definition of broadband?

      Because I have a lot of clients who have DSL (so to me it's broadband) but at a sync of 800/400, and a throughput of 350/100 due to retries, I wouldn't want to make a phone call on it...

      1. Fat Jez

        depends on what codec they use, but GSM managed with about 13Kbps for long enough, plus over heads, so 16Kbps in total. Your line should easily manage that

  5. Velv Silver badge
    Holmes

    Legalese

    I'm guessing the USO goes into more detail, but it is a Universal SERVICE Obligation to provide end users with a voice service.

    Technologies have advanced and it may no longer be appropriate to restrict delivery of the service to a pair of copper of copper wires attached to a 50V battery.

    Don't get me wrong, I have no desire to see BT get any more power than they already do. But at what point does it become advantageous to the country to update the USO. If, for example, BT we're going to provide the "voice" service to a new customer using a fibre connection at the same price instead of a copper connection, would we still be insisting on them laying copper too?

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Legalese

      If, for example, BT we're going to provide the "voice" service to a new customer using a fibre connection at the same price instead of a copper connection, would we still be insisting on them laying copper too?

      No, and we don't. Where BT supply FTTH, they do not and will not supply a copper POTS phone line to your house. Your only option is to have a "Fibre Home Phone", which is backed by a battery in your premises.

      They already do this, and consider this fulfilling USO.

  6. Tom 38 Silver badge

    I don't understand this at all. BT will never provide my flat with a POTS connection*, because it has FTTH. The only phone connection that BT will ever provide me with is a "BT Fibre Phone", which has a battery back up.. so if the fibre is down, or the battery gives up the ghost, no phone line.

    * Not that I want one. Mobile is fine for me, and BT FTTH isn't as good or cheap as the other FTTH plumbed in to my flat.

  7. Camilla Smythe

    Erm...?

    Presumably by scrapping PSTN/POTS BT are suggesting they will be able to cover the entire country with superfast stuff and I will still be able to phone me, 87 year Old, mum, who lives out in 'The Boonies', regularly at 9.00AM of a Friday to check she has not popped her cloggs and I have not scored my inheritance... without being charged 'mobile phone' data rates or having her prematurely converted to Soylent Blue Rinse. Oh, silly me. Past performance.... I assume BT will be re-branding 21CN as 22CN sometime soon.

  8. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Wires are so twentieth century....

    ... soon it'll be Wimax and 4G etc and we can say 'Goodbye BT, it was a royal pain knowing you'.

  9. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    I appreciate the points made about emergency calls and power cuts*. But it's tempting to say to BT, "OK, it's a deal. You make sure every building that has a POTS connection gets genuine, fast broadband. Then give everybody a free router and as many VoIP phones as they need to replace their old equipment. After you've done all that, we'll scrap the USO."

    *I keep an old wired phone for use during power cuts - not least because they're quite frequent in my village. But most people I know rely entirely on wireless phones, which won't work during a power cut.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Kubla C a nt

      I doubt BT really want this, but with the licence review there's all the pressure from competitors to force a demerger of Openreach. By adopting an extreme opposite position like this BT hope that OFCOM will end up taking the middle ground, which curiously is the current status quo that actually does suit BT.

      With a new to post and inexperienced civil servant as the chief exec at OFCOM I'd expect BTs strategy will probably work. Regrettably.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Cordless phones

      "But most people I know rely entirely on wireless phones, which won't work during a power cut."

      Uniden were selling battery-backed cordless bases back in the 1990s - and a 12V backup to most is pretty easy to rig.

      1. Gavin King

        Re: Cordless phones

        I have just bought a cordless phone with two hand-sets; it turns out that the base can be powered from the handset resting in it, if the power goes out. I think this is a rather neat arrangement.

    3. Nigel 11

      But most people I know rely entirely on wireless phones, which won't work during a power cut.

      And I've always wondered, why? The phones have rechargeable batteries in them that last for several days on idle and many hours of talk. Why don't the base-stations also have rechargeable batteries as back-up? Maybe the battery uptime would be hours rather than days, but and awful lot better than zero.

      I still have a non-wireless phone is a cupboard, so I can avoid being charged by BT for diagnosing that my phone line is OK but my base-station has died. I thought everyone did.

      1. Da Weezil

        Back in the late 90's I had a set of cordless units from BT which had a battery box in the power lead that rook several AA cells, I wonder why this isnt the case with modern units?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But let us keep all the hardware, of course

    Errr forgive me if I'm wrong here, but didn't the gubberment sell all that stuff off ~30 years ago. BT own the HW and the gubberment don't own BT so what ever else happens they still own the HW.

    I don't have a problem with them replacing POTs with VoIP as long as the same obligation of QoS is carried over. I also don't see why others wanting to enter the market place shouldn't have the same obligations.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: But let us keep all the hardware, of course

      "I don't have a problem with them replacing POTs with VoIP as long as the same obligation of QoS is carried over."

      I don't know (anyone able to confirm or deny?), but I would expect that the relevant service level agreement was drafted by a civil servant who retired before ever finding out what VoIP was, so if BT are kept to the letter of the law (providing POTS) then they cannot honour the spirit (providing connectivity) and vice versa.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: But let us keep all the hardware, of course

      "BT own the HW and the gubberment don't own BT so what ever else happens they still own the HW."

      BT has been fairly blatantly using Openreach to leverage its monopoly and frustrate competitors.

      It was precisely _because_ of ongoing market abuse by BT that the New Zealand authorities forced the demerger of the incumbent Telco there (after 30 years of the worst market abuse seen in the western world they saw the writing on the wall and tried to sell everyone on a BT/Openreach-style setup. NZ regulators investigated what's been happening here and decided the only way forward was complete demerger.)

  11. Lee D Silver badge

    The logical conclusion is that, sooner or later, everything will be IP.

    Virgin services are IP, effectively, over cable. TV, phone, Internet.

    Almost all businesses and schools are moving to IP in-house. They are investing in wireless and Cat6 and it's stupid and pointless to not use it in preference to some cheap 4-core run by the latest yahoo working for BT. And if you're using the same cable, might as well make it IP so phone, printer, computer, WAP, CCTV etc. can all co-exist and you can just branch from it as required.

    They are moving towards SIP trunking (to save on line rental and international costs, if nothing else).

    IP is the inevitable solution to all these things. If your system isn't IP-capable, you need to start moving onto one that is.

    So changing the USO to be "we must you give a way for an analogue phone/fax to work and a way for an Internet connection to work" seems to be quite reasonable, to be honest. The current USO is literally never going to see expansion past that necessary to provide some crappy 56k copper out in the sticks, so might as well change it to an IP USO and let people get the same end-result using other, more easily deployable, extendible and shareable technologies. Things like fancy alarm systems that can't work over such analogue->IP convertors should die. You shouldn't assume your copper line can do ADSL of any speed, so losing ADSL frequencies on the master phone socket isn't a problem, SO LONG as there's an IP alternative of some decent speed.

    And then you're doing what Virgin do. One cable to the whole street (rather than a plethora of telegraph poles), joint onto it as required, encryption and shared access using DOCSIS such that you can't interfere with the neighbours, and then pull off IP, telephone and even television as you need it. And because you're only going 100m or so, you can put stupendous speeds down it (e.g. standard Cat5e will give you Gigabit even on a homebrew version of this!).

    I don't see why not. But the proviso is exactly that - you can substitute the USO only where you provide an equivalent (or damn close to it) IP service. And the USO isn't allowed to change in terms of call quality, uptime, dialling costs, etc. one iota towards the negative.

    To be honest, I think that's a forward step.

    The problem is that BT will then run a copper, put ADSL on it, then run your phone line over IP on it, and still cock it up because that's the equipment they have and want to get rid of.

  12. PNGuinn
    Mushroom

    OK, so the USO is outdated...

    I fully agree that the Universal Service Obligation has been outmoded for a very long time, and URGENTLY needs updating in this internet age.

    BT, as the dominant telco, has great advantages, and with that go great responsibilities. It's high time the USO was dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. It should REQUIRE universal provision of a certain level of broadband. At the moment I would suggest a MINIMUM of 20 Mb per line. At all times. This should cover most current domestic / some small commercial needs.

    Whether higher speeds should be specified for larger enterprises is another question altogether.

    The problem is that the bandwidth needed seems to be rising expotentially. Since provision is expensive and time consuming (But I refuse to accept so expensive and time consuming as BT seem to be making it) someone is going to have to very accurately determine the likely demand say some 10 years ahead and put that rolling figure into the obligation. Good luck with getting that one right every time.

    However, a reputable and experienced telco, faced with suitably severe penalties for non compliance should be able to ......

    OFFCON? I think not. I wouldn't trust them to correctly determine their corporate toilet paper requirements for next week (or maybe last week).

    Now, IF we can get that all sorted, and everyone has suitable broadband provision at a reasonable cost, AND we can get the reliability up to the the levels of POTS (engineering exercise) AND provide a compatible POTS type service over broadband (failsafe from local power failure - another engineering exercise), by all means lets talk about retiring the existing POTS service.

    If not, BT/ Kingston - go stick your head(s) in a duct.

    Basically, there are two issues here:

    1. The urgent need to make usable broadband provision part of the USO - which I'm sure BT are not wanting in any shape or form.

    2. If, (when 1. is satisfactorily achieved) we can yank out all the copper before the pikeys do.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Enhanced Competition?

    I have a hard time understanding why any firm would desire improving the ability of their competitors capabilities unless there was some longer term payout that, perhaps, only they can see. Bait and switch writ larger, far larger, than is usual. Remembering the fateful words of Admiral Akbar: "It's a trap!"

  14. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Having exchanges capable of supplying POTS isn't overly onerous. I'd LOVE to be able to buy internet without having to fork out 15 quid a month for a landline I never use.

    1. Primus Secundus Tertius

      There is an option.

      You can chuck out the phone line, but then you get charged for TV channels that you never watch. As I found out.

    2. Bunbury

      I never understand that argument. Surely you do use the landline if it carries your internet traffic? Yes it happens to come with an embedded telephony service but so what?

      That's like me complaining that "I don't feel I should pay road tax because I have no need for the smell of tarmac, I just want to drive to work".

      1. Bob H

        The landline carries the ADSL we need but the issue is why do we have to pay for the PSTN termination on the end, when all we want is the DSLAM. Yes there is a public safety issue but I have sometimes purchased several DSL lines for a company and you resent paying for the PSTN component you don't use.

        There is a obligation on Openreach to supply PSTN with every last-mile circuit, even if the customer doesn't want it and this is clearly costing consumers. If that obligation was removed Openreach would save money because they wouldn't have to maintain termination and interconnect capacity. I have seen one ISP who offers a "no call" discounted line rental but most ISPs acknowledges they would like to drop that obligation.

        I think FTTH ONTs provide backup for hours hours or so, so that should cover 99% of outages but here is a letter from BT to Ofcom on the subject:

        http://www.btplc.com/thegroup/regulatoryandpublicaffairs/consultativeresponses/ofcom/2011/batterybackup/bbu_response_060911.pdf

        I get power outages a couple of times a year but my mobile phone works and even if I have poor coverage. 999 will work because of cross network sharing of emergency services. And for those who are complaining about not getting any broadband or DSL service? That isn't the point of this article so quit your whining and turn off the stuck record.

    3. Vince

      Well apart from that Internet connection?!

      Truth be told, I doubt you would get much of a reduction. Some of the 15 quid or so, is increasingly subsidising the broadband because everyone is playing a silly game of making the headline price lower and then whacking the line rental up. Adding the voice service doesn't really add much to the raw cost.

      Still, at least the bulk of providers need a 'phone line'... VIRGIN literally don't yet for some reason they've joined in on the same pricing nonsense and made it thus that you sort of do need it to get a competitive price on the other services. And despite the article suggesting otherwise, certainly in ex Eurobell cable areas they bring a bit of copper for said phone line as well as the coax for the TV/Internet (sorry folks, no, it isn't fibre you get)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Truth be told, I doubt you would get much of a reduction. Some of the 15 quid or so, is increasingly subsidising the broadband because everyone is playing a silly game of making the headline price lower and then whacking the line rental up. "

        Id expect a reduction, I'm not paying a stupidly cheap price for my Broadband - never have because all those really cheap deals always seem to end in tears - and my phone line ISN'T with my broadband provider - its actually cheaper to go elsewhere for the line while my current Data provider is the one that best suits my uses and finances I NEVER use a landline for calls, it exists only to carry Data, and if I can ever tweak my finances to afford AAISP I will grab thier "no voice" rental deal.

  15. Slap

    POTS has its place

    POTS certainly has it's place, even if it is just as a backup to VoIP

    I can't comment about BT as I haven't lived in the UK for nearly 10 years now, but we recently had a major screw up with a european DNS server which basically killed the internet for those of us who didn't have the nous to spot where where the problem was, and to alter our DNS settings (probably about 80% of people didn't have the nous)

    That also killed any telecom funtions for those who have telecoms over fibre. A major problem.

    POTS however continued to work fine, for the most part. Local calls were OK, but long distance were hit and miss which means that...

    ...BT might actually be onto something. As far as I understand a whole lot of telephone calls that start with POTS end up getting backhauled over the internet anyway, before being dumped back down to POTS at the other end. So in the event of a major internet outage you're likely to be as buggered with POTS as you would be with VoIP, at least for anything going beyong the local exchange.

  16. Alan Brown Silver badge

    BT is required to _OFFER_ POTS.

    That doesn't mean it's mandatory, but the current madness has it more expensive to not take it.

    They should continue being required to _offer_ POTS (just like the old 450 line TV), but if enough customers choose not to take it then they have a good argument for having the requirement rescinded some time in the future.

  17. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Don't let it be an excuse to raise prices

    "I would suspect these days most households have at least 3 mobile phones capable of making emergency calls."

    "But can they do that in an area without a signal, or if the cell towers are down?"

    The "you can't call in an area without a signal" is an ad hominem, because you're comparing to a phone that only works within like 20 feet of the wall plate in your home. Do you have signal in your home? Yes? Then, the cell phone works in a superset of the area your wired phone does. Does it work when cell towers are down? No, and the landline doesn't work when your landline is down either.

    "Similarly, power outages were common in the 1970's, but are extraordinarily rare today."

    "Power outages in the UK are still quite common in more rural areas, (where there is less likely to be a mobile signal) and are likely to get more common and widespread if the government policies on power generation continue."

    The "Power outages are uncommon" argument is silly. Nevertheless, power outages shouldn't be an argument against cell phones either. This shouldn't affect your cell phone (not saying that it doesn't but it shouldn't.) Verizon Wireless, for instance, has battery backup and generator backup on their cell sites. If your service goes out with the power, it means your phone provider are being cheapy-cheapy.

    As for BT -- I'd say if they wish to change how they provide POTS, they should be able to go ahead. But there should be a few conditions.

    First, since they say this'll save them money, they should not be able to use this as an excuse to raise prices. Side bar on this topic -- when cellular phone companies in the US started adding 4G LTE and VoLTE (Voice over LTE), MetroPCS said "LTE and VoLTE has cut our cost per voice minute and per byte by more than half, we're lowering rates". Almost every other provider said "LTE and VoLTE cost a lot to roll out, we're jacking up your rates".

    Second, they should still be obligated to charge the same or lower than current POTS rates, to provide a dialtone to the customer's phone jack. If they want to do it over an internet connection with a VOIP to landline phone adapter, by all means. But they should NOT be able to use this as an excuse to rope these people into paying the the same voice rate as now, PLUS an internet connection fee PLUS a VOIP adapter rental fee.

    Finally, something should be done about data caps -- either all VOIP use should count against whatever cap, or all VOIP use shouldn't. I can just see BT using "our VOIP doesn't count against your cap, theirs does" as some kind of bludgeon to "persuade" people to buy BT's VOIP service. (Honestly VOIP doesn't use much data... but still.)

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Don't let it be an excuse to raise prices

      @Henry Wertz 1

      "I would suspect these days most households have at least 3 mobile phones capable of making emergency calls."

      "But can they do that in an area without a signal, or if the cell towers are down?"

      The "you can't call in an area without a signal" is an ad hominem, because you're comparing to a phone that only works within like 20 feet of the wall plate in your home. Do you have signal in your home? Yes? Then, the cell phone works in a superset of the area your wired phone does.

      You've quoted from my post, but you seem to be misunderstanding my point. I was replying to the OP who was saying that we don't need POTS because everyone has a mobile nowadays.

      I was pointing out that there are many areas in the UK where we don't have mobile coverage in our homes, at any time, and should there be a power outage, we can't use VoIP either.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't let it be an excuse to raise prices

      The problem with your simplification is that you seem to be speaking from an urban point of view. There are still huge "GEOGRAPHIC" areas of the UK without mobile coverage, it doesn't seem that way from the figures because the figures relate to populated areas, not just the odd rural isolated property but whole hamlets that have NO mobile coverage, until that is addressed I see no way for POTS to disappear without money being spent by someone... why do I think it will be the rural consumer who suffers AGAIN?

  18. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    I suspect

    it has more to do with the rising value of copper metal than any interest by BT in making out for a better service.

    More fibre goes in, the more copper comes out and can be sold...

  19. Rolf Howarth

    Don't get ADSL at all

    Ok, so what are you supposed to do if you get a POTS telephone service but BT are unable to provide broadband of ANY kind at a property? Never mind 20 Mbit/s and FTTC... I'd be happy with 500 Kbit/s! Possibly too far from the exchange but after one unsuccessful engineer visit they can't be bothered to investigate further. Are they under any sort of internet service obligation?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't get ADSL at all

      > Are they under any sort of internet service obligation?

      I believe so, and I seem to recall that dial-up at 28.8kbps ticks the box. Whoo.

      1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: Don't get ADSL at all

        > I seem to recall that dial-up at 28.8kbps ticks the box

        I thought it was 1200bps as the only "guarantee" they provide of data service, but it is a long time since I last had that quoted at me.

  20. tyne

    So long as BT can promise that they'll have engineers who understand IP networks well enough to fix it when it goes wrong, the other issues around power outages etc aren't insurmountable.

    We've had an ongoing fault for 3 months, on a FTTC connection where there's constant packet loss that varies between 10% and 80%, which makes the connection all but unusable. We've had 5 Engineers every one of them has come, done a pair quality test and can see sync to the cabinet at 78/19 and close s the job as no fault found.

    The last engineer to come observed the packet loss and agreed that there was something wrong, but then explained that Openreach only provide the copper path and that as far as they where concerned the fault lies with either the ISP or BT Wholesale and that he had no alternative but to close the job as no fault found.

  21. Infernoz Bronze badge
    Facepalm

    Fine if they provide /proper/ FTTH and battery backed up, fibre, wired phone facility etc.

    If BT want to drop POTs, I want them to:

    * replace my Copper POTS cables with FTTH cable(s), with redundant fibre just-in-case

    * provide a trickle charged Li-ion (no NiCd or NiMH!) powered fibre, wired phone facility, for when a mobile phone is not available or usable.

    * provide a decent full speed FTTH modem/router (e.g. a Draytek one), which can handle decent connection traffic, so that I don't need to replace pathetic Chinese rubbish like for FTTC VDSL with my own bought hardware.

    * have built-in connection quality heartbeat and error signalling in the street fiber cabinets and fibre phone facility, so that BT promptly know when a FTTH cabinet, home port or home connection dies, is faulty or is suspect, so that I more rarely ever have to talk to Indian support drones or have to take time off for pointless home visits by BT engineers.

    * provide reliable triple digit Mb/s bandwidth, like proper Broadband countries do!

    * support IP6 to home already and require that resellers do too!

    * stop charging me for stuff I don't use.

  22. Infernoz Bronze badge

    Fine if they provide /proper/ FTTH and a battery backed up, fibre, wired phone facility etc.

    If BT want to drop POTS, I want them to:

    * replace my Copper POTS cables with FTTH cable(s), with redundant fibre just-in-case

    * provide a trickle charged Li-ion (no NiCd or NiMH!) powered fibre, wired phone facility, for when a mobile phone is not available or usable.

    * provide a decent, full speed, secure FTTH modem/router (e.g. a Draytek one), which can handle decent connection traffic without crashing or crawling; so not the pathetic Chinese rubbish they provided for FTTC VDSL.

    * have built-in connection quality heartbeat and error signalling in the street fiber cabinets and fibre phone facility, so that BT promptly know when a FTTH cabinet, home port or home connection dies, is faulty or is suspect, so that I more rarely ever have to talk to Indian support drones or have to take time off for useless home visits by BT engineers.

    * provide reliable triple digit Mb/s bandwidth, like proper Broadband countries do!

    * support IP6 to home already and require that resellers do too!

    * stop charging me for stuff I don't use.

  23. JasonLaw

    Not had a landline for 3-years

    Still have to pay for it, but not owned a phone that could be plugged into it in all that time.

    Number of times power cuts or other events have made this a regrettable decision = zero.

    Just need to work out why SKY broadband insist on a landline (at £16.40/month) if they don't have the same legal requirement....

    1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: Not had a landline for 3-years

      Because they can make a nice profit by selling you overpriced extra phone services (though I admit they're not the worst, yes I'm looking at you, Virgin!). After comparing all offers for my requirements (basically, anytime unlimited domestic + international calls), I found it cheaper to buy an IP Phone and subscribe a VoIP package, even if that means paying for a phone line I'm never using.

    2. Vince

      Re: Not had a landline for 3-years

      Because there's no 'copper only' product they can buy and that copper is still used to provide the Internet

      But I hate to say it, but if you think it would result in your bill reducing by 16.40, you'll be quite badly disappointed.

      1. Steven Jones

        Re: Not had a landline for 3-years

        There most certainly is a "copper only" product that service providers can buy. It's called MPF and is what is used by all the major LLU operators (and is £87.48 per year). That they they also provide a voice service is simply because it's virtually zero incremental cost to them as modern MSANs effectively provide that capability along with xDSL.

        Note that it's awkward if the 50V DC power isn't applied as it can be used as part of a cross-check that a line is allocated and can play a role in diagnostics.

    3. Noram

      Re: Not had a landline for 3-years

      Jason, because they still have to pay BT for the landline at a guess if you've got your internet with Sky but not got the landline with anyone else (there is still line rental needed).

      We've got what should be a great power system here (including what I think is the UK's biggest UPS in the town), but we still have power blips, and about 18 months ago a cut that lasted several hours.

      This ignores the times builders have cut through the main power line to one side of the town or the other, or the time when a new housing estate was being built the builders cut through the underground line something like 3 times in a week (you'd have thought after the second time they'd be more careful).

      Back on topic.

      If BT do drop the requirement to supply POTS, the regulation had better change to include a requirement that they supply some form of battery backed up device to let you interface your phones with VOIP during a power cut (preferably with the ability to swap out the battery easily when it starts to age, or take standard batteries in case of a prolonged outage or failed internal battery)..

      Our mobile reception varies a lot, and we're in the middle of a town.

  24. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Time to switch to fiber

    We already have workers from the Meth Addicts Local pulling out the old copper.

  25. Andrew Jones 2

    I must have read or at least interpreted the article differently to everyone else. My understanding from the article wasn't that BT were going to shut down down the copper network the day after OFCOM agree to BT's request - but rather they would phase it out over the next 10 years - and the reason for the request is because OFCOM won't provide BT with the opportunity to make this request again - for another 10 years - by which time the telecoms landscape might look very different. For a start off the top of my head - if voice traffic is VoIP - there is no need for the copper to connect to the exchange - so the phone line would only need to run to the nearest Fibre cabinet and there would be no need for the interlink between POTS to the exchange and Fibre any more.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha ha

    In Australia, copper wires ARE our "broadband".

    SUCH FAIL

  27. James Pickett

    "...government policies on power generation..."

    I think he means the EU directives on CO2 production (still mythically linked with global warming) that require early closure of fossil-fuel power stations and the erroneous belief that they can be replaced by wind turbines and PV panels, aka 'unreliables'. Hence the increasing likelihood of power cuts.

  28. Rande Knight

    Landline number

    As well as being required to have a landline for ADSL, the only other use I have for it is being required to input a landline number into online forms as some will refuse to accept mobile phone numbers.

    I think this is to do with security or maybe a holdover from when calling a mobile cost was expensive.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Landline number

      Type in zeroes.

      Seriously, any online form that assumes you have either a landline or mobile telephone and won't let you continue without it is not a place to do business with.

      (If I were malicious, I'd say put in a number starting with an directory enquiries or similar prefix, so when they dial it to sell you stuff they end up costing themselves money - do not be an idiot and use anything that starts like the emergency service numbers, however).

      Oh, and name and shame such places.

      1. Polemicista

        Re: Landline number

        The irony is thanks to VoIP that you don't actually need to have a landline in order to have a UK landline number with a local area code - you can get a free one to ring on a mobile app or forward it for next to nothing. I could have easily ditched my landline when I had Virgin Media, in favour of a VoIP service, but didn't, because of outages - sometimes I needed to resort to dial-up! Despite having to pay for a BT landline that I rarely use for outbound calls, I've never had that experience with BT Broadband.

        There was a bloke who got so fed up with getting unsolicited calls that he started giving out an 0871 number, meaning he was making £7 a month.

  29. hairydog

    Almost true...

    Yes, BT does have an obligation to provide a phone line everywhere, but they do NOT have to provide it to someone who doesn't want it. Yet they force it onto all subscribers.

    I have FTTC using a copper phone line from OpenReach*. When it had a phone plugged in, it only got spam calls, so for several years there has been no phone attached. But I still have to pay for a phone service I don't want.

    If BT wants to get rid of the obligation to provide the service, perhaps they could start by not requiring their customers to take the service. Then we'd see what the real demand is or isn't.

    *Of course, I don't pay line rental to BT: I use a cheaper supplier.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    That's Quite Enough

    Nationalise BT and bring back the GPO,stop the government slope-shoulding critical infrastructure on to the private sector which aint interested.

    Let the rump of BT just be an ISP which is all it appears to want to be

  31. Andy Livingstone

    Kellogs

    That's about as close to Fibre as BT show any sign of introducing round here.

    I would suggest that OFCOM require the upgrading of all Market 1 exchanges prior to granting any further enhancement plans concocted by BT or OutRage.

  32. ShortLegs

    I think we missed the point

    I [i]beleive[/i] BT's real end game is not the USO requirement to provide POTS, but a requirement to provide POTS service to [i]every household[/i].

    The difference is subtle, but has major cost benefits for BT: it is cheaper to provide several dozen 'lines' (POST, fibre, etc) in a town than it is to provide a single POTS line for a rural user. Removal of the obligation to do just this would allow BT to cherry pick the market. This should never, ever be allowed. At the moment we have a [growing] 'digital divide' in the UK; removing the basic right to telephone service would result in a communications divide.

    I see the logic in BT wanting to move to a wholly IP based solution (and under 21CN they did migrate most of their network to IP). And whilst the arguments for doing so from a consumer perspective are correct (we all use DECT handsets, VOIP works, power failures are rare etc), lets not forget that a similar argument was made when considering the number of lifeboats the Titanic should have, 'because, after all, the ship is unsinkable anyway'...

    Just because 'it' [power outages are rare/fibre-broadband is available/mobile coverage] is fine where "you" live, that is not the case country-wide, and it is OFCOMs duty to consider the entire country, not just the areas where 'it' is fine and bugger the rest.

    As many have said, if the obligation was to ensure that handset/basestation came with battery-backed power, that would be a start. However, lets not forget that the USO is beyond the provisions of POTS, but is the universal provisions of [i]service[/i]

  33. Wordfuse

    Erm, power cuts still happen, VOIP wouldn't be much cop then as the old voice phone system carries on with backup batteries.

  34. kpanchev

    It says "provision on request"...

    Well, as I read the Ofcom document, it states that BT should provide tepephone service "on request". So if I don't request the phone but only the internet provision, why am I forced to buy it? Because of this I will never subscribe to any dsl service that forces me to pay for something I do not require...

    On another note, I am no lawyer, but I do see a case here for people taking BT to court for making them buy a product they don't want... the same banks are paying back for unwanted PPI...

    1. James 100

      Re: It says "provision on request"...

      You aren't actually forced to - BT (Openreach) are quite happy to provide just the wire bit to any ISP that wants it. However, most of those make a nice living out of bundling in the PSTN side - and more pragmatically, one ISP that did offer a broadband-only line then discovered those lines tended to get disconnected and recycled by BT's contractors when installing new lines: they'd see a line with no PSTN service, assume it's spare, and re-use that wire for the new line they're installing.

      The problem is, the copper wire itself is the expensive bit: plugging it into a PSTN port in the exchange only adds a few pounds per year to the c £88 they charge for the copper. Saving a small percentage isn't really worth the extra hassle it causes in support, for most ISPs.

      1. kpanchev

        Re: It says "provision on request"...

        "...You aren't actually forced to - BT (Openreach) are quite happy to provide just the wire bit to any ISP that wants it...."

        The problem is that I am not an ISP, I am just an end user who does not want or need a landline, but I don't have the option to "not request" it...

  35. Roland6 Silver badge

    OTT Players

    "All the telcos find it especially unfair that Over the Top (OTT) internet messaging and calling operations such as WhatsApp, Skype, Apple Facetime, Facebook etc are not required to connect their users to rival networks."

    Interesting that no one seems to have picked up on this.

    I suggest here BT (and other Telco's) have a legitimate complaint, that is also aligned with consumer needs.

    I suspect that what is needed is a standards group to begin working and defining relevant (open and royalty free) standards, just as they did with networking protocols (eg. TCP/IP, OSI, CCITT X-series) then we can start to get organisations to demand interop.

  36. Tim036

    Wrong Goal Wrong aims

    Having fast Internet to everyone who wants it needs the fiber to arrive into every customers building.

    (4G works fine but has speed limits and 5G has yet be generally available and may not be affordable)

    Can BT / Openreach deliver the fiber into every one who wants it by 2015 ? Absolutely no chance as their track record is appalling.IMHO.

    A MAJOR change is needed to do this and even if there is a strong will to achieve this 2030 is more likely.

    The fix over what is currently happening to what is desperately needed is vital.

    I took the view that 4G would render the use of copper as obsolete and ditched my landline. A good decision. (the last 1/2 mile of copper is real an awful decision often not worth having better investment is going all the way,

    Rant over...

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